How to Realize Any Dream, One Step At A Time

I have spent the past three gorgeous days in the city of my heart, San Francisco. walking the steps

I flew here last Friday so I could attend a workshop with my writing coach on Saturday morning. I’d completed the next milestone for my book - 100 pages!

100 pages feels significant. I’d never written anything longer than 40 pages before.

How did I do it? A page at a time, or more often a few pages in a sitting.

A sentence, a paragraph, a scene at a time.

I Am A Work in Progress
Now, the book draft still needs a lot of work. I wouldn’t feel ready to show it to an editor or agent yet. That’ll come after several more drafts, more research, craft and polishing.

Yet I can see that I have accomplished a lot already, simply by sitting down and writing regularly, and by meeting all the deadlines that my writing coach has set for the group along the way.

Living in the Flow
Writing the book is a process, as the manuscript evolves, one page or edit at a time. That is all we can do in life, really - take it one step at a time.

Yet I used to have a lot more anxiety about the “next steps” in life, worrying constantly about whether or not I was taking the “right” steps, and worrying about the outcomes of my actions – often trying to calculate everything six steps ahead, hoping what I was doing would bring me what I want.

It was difficult for me to just flow with life.

Learning to Let Go
I’ve been fortunate to find practices that have alleviated much of that anxiety about getting it all “right,” including my regular meditation practice. I’m so grateful for the powerful spiritual teachers I’ve encountered, and numerous friends and mentors who have taught me to trust myself and my instincts, and just to do what needs to be done in the moment.

I still have doubts sometimes of course, and simply have to move through them. Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever finish this book, or who I think I am to be writing it. Will it be any good?

That is where the support of my writing coach, writing buddy, friends, and 8womendream come in, keeping me going when I am feeling unsure, helping me find inspiration and just moving forward, another step and page at a time.

The Energy of A Beloved City
Here in San Francisco I find myself dropping so palpably into that energy space of trusting and simply doing what needs to be done, taking each step and trusting that I’ll know what I need to do next, when the time comes.

San Francisco is, to me, a magical city. I love the energy and beauty here, the diversity and eclecticism. I love how it offers itself up to me anew each time I come, with new spaces, places, and faces to discover.

Today I worked for several hours at the Leland Tea Company, where the exuberant owner Will welcomed me with open arms, and his co-worker Ronnie showcased flavorful tea options for me. I had an egg salad sandwich with the crusts cut off, and Kisses tea mixed with KookieDoodle, which tastes of chocolate mixed with hazelnut. Delicious.

Dessert was with a darling friend at Cafe Gratitude, which serves raw food and has inspirational sayings painted and written and posted all over the walls. I typed the following quote into the task list in my phone to remind myself of the importance of doing what I am called to do in the moment, and letting the rest go:

“Time is a flowing river. Happy those who allow themselves to be carried, unresisting, with the current. They float through easy days. They live, unquestioning, in the moment.” ~ Christopher Morley

“She’s Only Happy When She’s Dancing…”
I wrapped up my beautiful day by blues dancing in the Mission District. The stresses of the day, the pressure of finishing this post on time and checking other tasks off my list, any lingering worries about what I should or shouldn’t do next, or what will happen next in my life, completely dissolved as I danced in the arms of one handsome man after another.

In moments like this, how can I not be in the flow and love my life as it is?

I am so grateful to be here in San Francisco, writing, living my life and trusting in what comes next!

How can you flow with your life this week, and take the next step toward living your dreams?


Lisa_avatar(Lisa has launched her dream by signing up for Ellen Sussman’s “Memoir-in-a-Year” class, speaking her story out loud at a Take Back the Night rally, and committing to a regular writing schedule – 50 pages completed by December 5th, when she also turned in her first book chapter! She just achieved another milestone – 100 pages completed by February 6th! Being invited to join was a dream come true, and she looks forward to chronicling her writing process. Lisa is currently bi-coastal with her home in historic Troy, New York and her heart in San Francisco.  Lisa’s post day is Tuesday).


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Lisa is a freelance writer, consultant and life coach. She has her BA in English and Creative Writing from Princeton and her MPA from Harvard. Lisa recently finished the first draft of her book manuscript, Burning Down the House. Her dream is to publish this first book and teach the world how to discover their hidden joy. Her post day is Tuesday.
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  • Wendy

    One hundred pages! Wow! I am impressed and I like your positive attitude as you work towards your goal. You have seemed to find a wonderful balance in life that is working for you. Congratulations!

  • Remy G

    Lisa way to go! What an incredible first milestone! Your thoughts on ‘one day at a time’ really resonate with me. I have a tendency to have alot of great ideas, and my actions and pocketbook cant keep pace! If I take things for what they are, I should be able to manage it in little pieces. Right? :) When I read your words about SF I can close my eyes and see it! I love the city and everything you can do and see there…keep dancing, it’s good for your soul! Rem

  • Julita

    Lisa, I look forward to your post every tuesday. I always wonder what you are going to write about, what words of wisdom will you share.

    so this Tuesday you were in SF and you finished 100 pages! sounds like a great accomplishment to me.

    also dancing with all these handsome men sounds like fun to me. it is so good to have such passion in your life!

    all my love,

  • Constance

    I love this and hearing all the wonderful news! I will keep up with you and PLEASE, please subscribe to my column.
    I need encouragement! It’s now writing about what I’d most like to, but it’s getting me back into the game. I grew up writing – always – it’s what everyone thought I’d become. But, once I found the passion of acting…I dove into that completely and could never seem to get started again with my writing. I still can’t seem to start “creative” writing again. Not on my own, anyway. So, the article writing is great for now because it gives me a deadline of sorts.
    Miss seeing you here in the Big Apple. :)

  • Rachel

    You make me want to go to San Francisco.

    Your post reminds me of my days learning to program. I remember the first time I got a programming problem I didn’t know how to solve (about halfway through my first programming class.)

    I remember that feeling of realizing I could break the problem into pieces, and feeling I’d accomplished something by doing that. I remember being delighted the first time I broke off a piece small enough to actually chew on (er… solve.) And I remember being even more delighted when doing the first piece gave me more insight into how to do one of the others. I ended up with a successful solution much quicker than I could have imagined, and a valuable lesson in life. It taught me to say, with some confidence, “I can solve this problem”, even though at this moment, I have no idea how.

    In my job now, I often have to go back to that lesson, and realize that as long as I’ve come up with the next step (or I’m making progress on _this_ step), I’m doing all right. On a good day, I can apply it to most everything else, too.

  • Thanks Cath! :) It feels great to be making progress.. A little at a time… Still a long ways to go but I’ll get there!

    Thanks as always for your loving support and for all you do! And YES we will celebrate and toast all of our progress the next time I am in town! :)


  • Catherine, Site Admin

    Congratulations on your milestone Lisa. Sorry we missed connecting with you this trip. We will have to celebrate this the next time you are in town.

    100 pages – that is great!